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Top tips from a Sunshine Coast fishing expert

Top tips from a Sunshine Coast fishing expert

If a holiday packed with lazy beach days and Hinterland adventures didn’t already have you hook, line and sinker, perhaps the Sunshine Coast’s fishing scene will reel you in.

Top tips from a Sunshine Coast fishing expert
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Good catch. Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

The Sunshine Coast is THE place to cast a line, with a large range of fish species to catch and epic locations for your next fishing adventure, whether you’re a first-time angler chasing a big catch or seasoned professional.

To make your fishing adventure the best one yet, we sat down with local fishing expert and director of Sunny Coast business SCF Australia, Dean Jackson.

Dean and the team are passionate about sustainable fishing, keeping waterways clean and creating abundant fisheries for generations to come.

They also run some epic events, giving anglers the chance to reel in up to $5,000 cash at their Sunshine Coast Research and Fishing Competition to be held from 9-10 September 2022.

In the lead-up, we asked Dean everything there is to know about fishing on the Sunshine Coast, and here’s what he had to say.

1. Best spots for beach fishing?

Beach fishing. Credit: Kieran Tunbridge
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Beach fishing. Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

Beach fishing is one of the easiest ways to start off your fishing journey, as its cheap, easy and really fun. If you’re looking for something to do with the whole family on the weekend, beach fishing is the way to go. Some of my favourite beach fishing hotspots on the Coast are: Mudjimba Beach, Point Arkwright, Stumers Creek, The Pocket in Kawana and Noosa North Shore. These locations are easily accessible and will all produce a wide variety of fish species.

2. Where to get your bait & tackle on the Sunshine Coast?

The Coast has a huge number of local bait & tackle stores, but my go to store on the Coast would have to be Barra Jacks Kawana. I’ve been shopping here since I first started fishing on the Coast and thanks to the team’s great service, endless local knowledge and amazing deals my fishing has been able to move forward at pace.

3. Bait vs Lures?

Credit: Kieran Tunbridge
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Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

When it comes to bait vs lures, they both have their benefits and disadvantages. Dead bait fishing is definitely the easiest, cheapest and most effective way of catching a large variety of fish. You’ll find fishing with dead baits will catch a much higher number of fish than lure fishing, however you won’t get the quality of fish that you do with lures. Lure fishing could be considered an art, it’s much harder to learn, and it takes years to master, but once you do it sticks with you forever. It’s also more expensive than bait fishing, as the quality and amount of gear required increases. The lure purchasing addiction usually starts too. When it comes to live bait fishing, it’s a completely different ball game. Live bait fishing is kind of a mix between h bait and lure fishing, as it requires skill sets from both. When live bait fishing you’llusually catch both quality and a good quantity of fish.

4. Great spots for river fishing on the Sunshine Coast?

River fishing. Credit: Kieran Tunbridge
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River fishing. Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

The estuary and river fishing options on the Sunshine Coast are endless. The creeks, rivers and lakes spread across the Coast are great fishing destinations for both beginners to perfect their lure fishing techniques, as well as offering some incredible fishing for the more experienced angler. Myself and a number of other anglers across the Coast kick-started our fishing careers in the rivers and estuaries. Some of my all-time favourite river fishing spots on the Sunshine Coast are: Oyster Bank Road in Bli Bli, the sand bags in Cotton Tree, Dunethin Rock in Maroochydore, the Trawlers in Mooloolaba, Coochin Creek in Caloundra and between the Lakes in Noosa.

5. Places to launch your tinny?

There are more boat ramps on the Coast than tackle stores, so finding a place to launch your boat or tinny is easy. Some of my favourite ramps to use on the Coast are: Mooloolaba Coastguard, La Balsa Park, Noosa Marina, Bradman Avenue and Dunethin Rock.

6. Can you go deep sea fishing on the Sunshine Coast, and if so, what can you expect to catch?

Good catch. Credit: Kieran Tunbridge
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Good catch. Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

Deep sea fishing is probably just as popular as river fishing on the Sunshine Coast as it offers some amazing fishing opportunities. The range in size and species when deep sea fishing off the Sunshine coast is huge. If you’re fishing further down the coast around Caloundra and the passage you can expect to catch species like Snapper, Cobia, Mulloway and some very large Tuna. Drive 30mins north and you’re now fishing off Mooloolaba, this is where you can expect to get good numbers of Pearl Perch, Snapper, Amberjack, Mahi Mahi and even the odd Kingfish. Go another 30mins north and you’re now at Noosa, this is where you can expect to catch Coral Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Deep Sea Cod and good numbers of smaller tasty reef species. I highly rate the offshore fishing on the Coast and encourage everybody to give it a go.

7. Can you tell us a bit about the importance of sustainable fishing and your clean waterways projects?

Credit: Kieran Tunbridge
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Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

Sustainable fishing practises and preserving the health of our oceans is everything to us here at SCF. Our aim from day one was to educate and encourage the everyday recreational fishermen to participate in sustainable fishing practises, hoping that one day a large chunk of the community across the Coast and even Australia, do so without thought. That’s when the idea for our Clean Waterways projects came into play. Myself and the team at SCF all know firsthand what life beneath the surface is like due to our adventurous work and lifestyle. However, we know that the majority of people do not. Understanding what goes on beneath the surface makes us appreciate and love the ocean and our Sunshine Coast fishery even more, so we wanted to share this with people so that everybody could experience it. Using high quality videography we plan to film in popular destinations such as the Noosa River, to make people aware of what’s actually going on down there and what they can do to help.

8. What about bag/size limits? Are there limits on the Sunshine Coast, where do you find that information?

Credit: Kieran Tunbridge
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Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

Yes the Sunshine Coast has bag limits, just as most places across Australia do. To ensure myself and the team keep up to date on bag limits, size limits and any other new QLD Fishery rules, we use the mobile phone app QLD Fishing 2.0. This app allows us to stay up to date on any new rules or regulations we need to know before we hit the water.

9. Tides… weather… wind… moon.. how does this affect fishing? Are there any apps you recommend?

Everything you just mentioned and more affects the fishing, which is why every fishing trip is completely different to the last. There are a number of weather apps myself and the team have used over the years to understand what the weather is doing. When it comes to weather prediction I either use Willy Whether, Seabreeze or the Windy phone app, all three of these options will allow you to see the winds, tides, swell, moon phase and everything else you need. All these things make a difference to how and what the fish will be doing on that day. We also recommend taking notes of exactly when you do catch good quality fish and record what the weather was doing at that time. This will allow you to learn valuable patterns that can majorly increase your fishing effectiveness after a while.

10. What facilities are at the fishing spots? Are there taps, benches to de-scale, clean and gut the fish?

These days around the Sunshine Coast we are lucky enough to have mostly modern boat ramps, which are all equipped with taps, benches for cleaning and filleting, bins, and even a wash down station. Even the few remote ramps around the Coast usually have at least somewhere to clean your days catch, making for a very quick and simple clean-up/wash down after a big day on the water.

11. How do you cook your catch? Any one stop shops for fresh fish recipes?

Myself and the team leave all the cooking responsibilities to our gun team member Benny who is a qualified chef. Depending on the catch, the location, what’s available to use and what the team is feeling determines how Benny cooks the catch. One thing for certain though is it always taste incredible. If you’d like to find some quick and simple recipes, head over to our ‘Catch + Cook’ serious and YouTube or Google the ‘Switch Your Fish’ campaign.

12. If you don’t catch enough for dinner, where is your favourite spot for a seafood feast?

Seafood and drinks Credit: Kieran Tunbridge
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Seafood and drinks Credit: Kieran Tunbridge

If we happen to luck out and come home without a feed, my favourite fresh seafood place in town is only a 5-minute walk from the Mooloolaba boat ramp. Walker Seafoods in Mooloolaba offers a huge range of the freshest seafood you could get your hands on, without catching it. If I’m even feeling too lazy to cook, I’ll hit the best fish and chips restaurant in town… Psari Seafood & Grill!

This article was written in conjunction with SCF Australia